Genesis 15: God’s Covenant with Abram

1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

-This time we are told how God spoke to Abram, through a vision. In the bible a vision can be many different things. Sometimes a vision is something someone sees while asleep, sometimes while awake, sometimes while walking or doing something. It does not seem to matter what the individual is doing at the time, what happens is the person sees images in their minds-eye and they can’t seem to control it because it is from God. We learned that when the world was created, God spoke the command, Jesus was the command, and the Spirit carried out the command. Going by this structure, we can claim the Abram was visited by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit was with Him showing him this vision.

2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”

-Poor Eliezer. It’s reasonable to assume he was probably Abram’s most loyal servant.

4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

-Pay attention to the wording here. “The word” of the Lord came to him and then it says God brought him outside. In John 1:1, Jesus is referred to as “The Word” and then we are given a picture of a man-like individual guiding Abram outside like a host guides a guest. Could this have been another appearance of Jesus? It does not say the vision guided him outside, it says he was “brought” outside. The Hebrew word used here is “yatsa” which means “to go or come out”. So Abram was “go’ed” out, not guided in a Spiritual sense. A reasonable interpretation is that God was in the form of a man guiding him outside. Fun fact: to date, scientists have been able to number 300 sextillion starts as of an article from 2010: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/01/scientists-sextillion-stars/ . Does this mean that literally Abram’s descendants are 300 sextillion in number? In this case I would not define this literally because the wording is “So shall your offspring be”. In other words, God is saying “Its like this”. Abram’s descendants will be like the number of stars in the sky which at the time, everyone would probably assume there was some 2,000 because that’s about how many you can see without any kind of telescope. Its amazing that in time we have both learned that Abram’s descendants really are in the billions to this day and we’ve discovered such an incalculable number of stars has given this verse new meaning. Abram could not have imagined life on earth existing this long because at this point it had been less than 400 years since the flood and we know Shem was still living at the time somewhere near 480 and he lives until he is 600.

6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

-This is one the most important verses in the entire bible! These 13 words explain exactly how it is we can go to heaven despite being horrible sinners. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, all it takes is faith in the Lord and God counts that the same as if we never sinned and did good deeds. Faith in God washes over sins. Keep in mind, this is being told at the same time the Israelites are being given the law. Even then, they are told that the most important thing to have is faith, not to do everything perfect. We’ve already seen a number of examples even with these first 15 chapters of Genesis of God showing great mercy even to horrible sinners. Cain seemed to go on and have success in life despite living as a fugitive against God and he was not killed immediately for killing his own brother. Lamech was not struck dead for taking on two wives and declaring a new curse as if he were God. When the flood happened, there had been 100 years of warning where it can be assumed Noah told people what he was doing and why and no one believed him. God waiting until the world was sufficiently evil, giving them a chance to turn around. We see grace, after grace, after grace. God has never been one to immediately enact justice and He always seems to show compassion and give people a chance to change. And no matter what we’ve done, as long as we have faith, God counts that as righteousness. Abram has seemed like a very righteous man up to this point but we’ve seen him not completely obey God’s original plan by taking his family and possessions with him and lying while in Egypt. But that did not disqualify him in God’s sight and we see Abram becoming more and more like God. Abram’s very life is an example of the Christian life of today. We start out as babies and over time, we learn to walk and to talk. Eventually, some of us may learn to be fully grown and sprint and teach others. Abram is on this journey and the fact that he now trusts God shows how far he has come.

7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”

-The fact that God identifies Himself as the one who originally lead Abram away from Ur must mean that Abram did not know it was from God and may have only assumed or just decided to obey a strange voice or instinct out of fear. Maybe there was no decision at all and he simply found himself doing it. However, if that was the case he probably would have gone straight to Canaan instead of stopping in Haran and taking his father and household so it seems most reasonable to assume a free will choice here. This gives Abram some credit for his incomplete disobedience because he did not know the source of this strange message he was getting and probably wasn’t sure whether to obey it. He may have doubted his sanity. This is important to take note in case you, the reader, ever think God may have told you something but are not sure and may be hesitant. The fact that this happened to Abram way back when shows that it could happen today and this is quite normal. Go before the Lord and ask him for confirmation and tell him you would like to obey this if it is from Him and do it anyway as long as there is nothing sinful. If there’s even a chance God has told you to do something you need to do it. Better you think you’re serving the Lord and be wrong than to be afraid and not do what the Lord commands out of fear of humiliation. As we learned, God counts faith as righteousness. Faith is not about being given all the information or knowing for sure. Faith in itself is a risk, it is a blind jump. That is the very definition of faith, doing something even if it doesn’t make sense or the reward doesn’t seem worth the risk. I’ve heard one philosopher claim that “faith is the antithesis of reason”. I don’t have a problem with this definition because it does seem to be true. The bible itself does have evidence that can be verified in terms of history, archeology, names of people and places, but in terms of “proof” that all this is real? You will never find it scientifically. Once you are a believer and you study the word, you will start to see and understandings that are proof to you but there will never be any kind of scientific proof that what the bible says is real. It can only be believed on faith, there is plenty of reason to doubt it, its fantastical. The world does not experience the things talked about in the bible every day like huge miracles and because are brains are natural wired to sin, we more often see what the world identifies as “the real world” rather than the Spiritual side of things. A person can never truly reason their way to and understand of God or anything like visions. It all comes down to faith. Just believe!

8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”

Well, so much for faith, right? Not completely because the fact that Abram asks means he does indeed believe he’s talking to God and that God can give him a sign. As mentioned before, Abram is on a journey and he is growing into the believer that he will one day be as Abraham, a man willing to sacrifice his son because God tells him to. Abram is not there yet and while he believes in God and God guiding him, he still questions God’s ability to give him a son because there is still a fleshly nature within him fighting. From a worldly perspective, it doesn’t make sense. Abram and Sarai have been trying for years and they are getting to old to physically be capable of having children. It just seems so outrageous and aside from Abram’s military victor and the ( possible) visit from God in the flesh when he was brought outside, Abram has not witnessed miracles of this type. He may truly not no that nothing is impossible with God and may only be viewing Him as a super-powerful deity that does indeed have limitations instead of God the creator that has no limitations aside from sinning against Himself or changing.

9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.

-These seems bizarre and gruesome but this was actually a common practice of the day. Men would draw covenants and contracts in this manner, a “blood” contract if you will. The idea being if either side broke this contract, they would end up like this animal. God is essentially swearing on His own life, on pain of death, that He will do as He has promised to Abram. This is not necessary for God to do because anything He declares happens, period. But God is doing this for Abram’s benefit to give Him a gift of faith that He will do what has been promised. One animal was usually enough for this kind of contract so the number of animals may have been a sign of the importance of the contract to use so many. It’s interesting the bird were not cut in half. We are not given the reason why. This would mean between the five animals there were 4 halves and the turtledove and pigeon would have been on either side of the other as halves. Note that all these animals are clean animals. No unclean animal can ever be sacrificed to God.

11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12a As the sun was going down,

-This implies that there was a great amount of waiting, probably several hours while Abram sat there waiting for God to show up. The patience must have made him doubt his sanity again but patience is a Godly virtue and impatience is a result of our sinful nature. God may have waiting as part of Abram’s journey teaching him patiences or perhaps it symbolized to Abram that this was going to take a long time.

12b a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

-Abram is given a vision in a dream this time. Notice it says dreadful and great darkness fell on him. While would there be dread and darkness when Abram is being told that the promise will be fulfilled? I have a possible explanation from my own experience. When I was 16 years old, I truly believe I had not one but two visions in my dreams. I remember the feeling and what I saw, it was something like described in the bible and while strange, I had absolutely no doubt as to their meaning. I was shown that nothing is more important than what was done on the Cross in one and I was flat out told in another that God loves me. Even though these were wonderful positive messages and I was blessed far beyond anything I could ever deserve to be given these confirmations of my faith, I felt a deep dread and fear unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I woke up sweating and more terrified then at any other point in my life. The fact that something was happening beyond my control and I somehow knew that this was from God gave me a deep terror. It may have done something else as well. If as mentioned before that the Spirit visits people when they have visions and this is what happened, the Spirit also does something else…it reveals truth. The Holy Spirit bestows gifts and one of those gifts are faith, another is wisdom, another is discernment. These things help us in our faith and in our journey to God. It makes sense that if God’s very nature is honesty and the truth that the Holy Spirit when touching someone would reveal the truth. My feeling, and perhaps Abram’s feeling of darkness and dread, may have been us feeling our own sin. Temporarily, we felt how horrible we are to God and our entire bodies had a physical reaction. Again, I have no wish to try and inject my own personal experience into scripture and wish to draw from scripture blindly to accept the truth. But this description is so much like my own experience before I ever looked at this passage closely to know before hand that I cannot help myself but draw from it. But I advise the reader to take what has been written here with a grain of salt. As stated before, nothing of the Spiritual can be proven and its still possible I just had a weird dream and the fact that I thought it was from God scarred me and it wasn’t. Even without my experience, the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of Abram’s nature while the vision occurred seems a reasonable theory on its own.

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.

-This occurred while Abram was asleep. This is most unlike a contract because in such a ritual, both parties would cross between as a sign of the blood oath. But Abram was not making a deal with God, God was simply giving his promise. Abram is not required to do anything as part of this contract and so he was taken completely out of the deal. The contract is simply God vowing that He will do something. An image of a pot suggests a contained fire and the torch is being held as if by an invisible hand. God later is seen in the image of burning fire in several instances and this seems to be symbolic of the presence of God. If one believes that God walking in the form of a man was God the Father and not Jesus then its a reasonable question to ask why God did not come in the flesh and perform this ritual as He may have done before when guiding Abram? Or why didn’t Jesus come either? The reason is that this is a promise from God the Father and God the Son, Jesus, is the word and the voice that submits to God. God the Father is the authority in their relationship and only He can make promises. The Son does nothing apart from the will of the Father who sent Him. Jesus cannot make a contract in His own name or on behalf of God the Father, He can only submit to God as does the Holy Spirit and they do not have a will of their own. So God the Father Himself had to be present to do this but God the Father does not visit in the form of a man. So God was present but the visible sign that human eyes see is fire.

18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

-Some of these people’s have been mentioned and genealogies given, some genealogies are unknown, and some are only ever mentioned in this one passage in the whole of the bible. These could be descendants from others sons that are not mentioned in scripture or we may be getting already to a time when groups are no longer named based on their common ancestor but by a King or a description of who they are. We talked about before how the term “Perizzites” has come to be known as a term meaning “belonging to a village”. One would assume given this is Canaanite territory that all these groups are descended from Canaan but we can no longer assume this. One of the few details we have of Kenites it that Moses father-in-law was a Kenite so presumably his wife was of this bloodline as well. Kadmonites is a term in Hebrew that has come to mean “easterners” so perhaps these people migrated from the Caldeans or even farther East. Rephaim is a term that means “giants” and whoever these people descended from seem to be from Golan in Israel. The Hebrew root “rapha” actually means to heal so perhaps these people were called this because as Giants, they were considered super healthy. The others are Canaanite tribes. Interesting that God says this nation will stretch from the Nile river to the Euphrates river, a much larger territory than the nation of Israel that began and exists today. Does this mean Israel will be much larger and the promise has yet to be completely revealed? This territory would encompass the modern nations of eastern Egypt, Israel, all of Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia, half of Iraq, all of Lebanon, most of Syria, and possibly a small stretch of Turkey too. Here is a picture to illustrate: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/61/Greater_Israel_map.jpg/1024px-Greater_Israel_map.jpg . Given that some of the peoples who were identified and did not settle within the confines of what we think of as Israel also fortifies this thought. Are we still, even today, going to witness a war between Israel and these nations that would eventually cause the territory of Israel to actually stretch this far? God said it and this does not appear to be hyperbole. God is never given to hyperbole. This must be that at some point in time, Israel truly will have these boundaries some day. This leads members of these nations to be extremely fearful and on high conspiracy alert to this day that “The Zionists” will go to war and take this land because it is identified as Abraham’s promised land in the bible. It could also simply be that another of Abram’s descendants, Ishmael, may be in the blood of the citizens of these nations today as the Muslims believe and in that sense, the promise was fulfilled already and descendants of Abram do exist from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Spanish Words:

escudo = shield
galardón = award, prize
prole = offspring
heredero = heir
becerra = calf
heredar = to inherit
rapiña = robbery
esclava = slave, bracelet
ajena = alien, someone different
juzgar = to judge
puesto = position

Genesis 12: The Call of Abram

1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you

-From my own recent history I know this call well. I too left my country, my kindred, and my father’s house to a land that God showed me through the mission trip with my church. Once I saw this place, I knew this was where I was suppose to be. I can’t help but wonder if this is how it happened with Abram. I think we all tend to think more along the lines of God speaking with a voice that can be heard audibly to Abram with this story but I wonder if it was more like my own experience. In my experience, there was no audible voice or a visitation by an angel, there was simply a feeling of assurance. Logically, I could not explain why I would want to sell everything and go to Mexico. I was not impressing anyone, I was not doing it to try to earn favor with God. I simply “knew” like an instinct what to do and was not able to question. I feel like I had no choice, I could not imagine not doing it. And that’s it. No magic, no nothing. I do not want to be guilty of injecting my own personal experience and perspective into the word of God, but I would describe my experience as “the Lord said” as well. So when it it written that “the Lord said”, we shouldn’t assume it was audible although it may very well have been.

2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

-According to the genealogy last chapter, it really hasn’t been that long since the flood. Even though Abram is multiple generations after and 75 years old at the time of leaving Haran, Noah’s son Shem is still alive during this time as he would be 465 years old now. Shem lives until he’s 600 years old. So the idea that a nation will descend from someone at this time probably wasn’t all that shocking since it was happening everywhere in the world. What made this so shocking was the direct communication from God and then the age of Abram. Even though Shem and the earlier generations were living a very long time, we’ve already gotten close to the point where mankind is living closer to the lifespan of today. Abram’s father Terah lives 205 years and Abram 180 years. We see most of Abram’s ancestors have the particular descendant in their 30’s except Abram’s father Terah had all three sons by 70 so being already 75 years old, it was a little on the old side to be having children already. We don’t know how the aging worked at this time if 75 was similar to 75 today and they stayed “old” longer or if it was closer to about 40 or 50 compared to today. But compared to everyone after Shem, it seems like Abram should have got his start sooner. This is what makes this story truly miraculous.

3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

-This is the verse that is used when suggesting gentile nations should support Israel. When God is speaking to Abraham, He also seems to be speaking to the nation that will come from him as well when He says “all the families of the earth”. We don’t see that “all the families of the earth” are blessed during Abram’s lifetime so God definitely seems to be speaking about the nation not specifically him. We see later in the bible that through Israel, we receive the promised Messiah who takes away the sin of the world and we see the role Israel will play in the new earth. We see this play out during the nation of Israel’s time in the old testament, but does it still apply today? Does supporting the nation of Israel today still mean blessing for the nation that does? I think we have to ask ourselves what “supporting Israel” means exactly. Are we talking about the country or are we talking about God and His will? Israel was created to be an example to the nations. So when we support Israel, we are honoring God and declaring our faith in what He has revealed as being “good”. This does not mean that everything Israel does is right. After all, it is a secular country today and most of those who are religious are Orthodox Jewish who deny Jesus as the Son of God. There are many lies and misinformation about Israel, but Israel also has committed sins themselves. So does this verse suggest it is wise to blindly support the country of Israel no matter what they do, even when they are morally wrong and against God themselves? Of course not. In Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” I will not get into the specifics and the Greek here but the word “hate” in this instance means “forsake” or to let go. NOTHING is of importance except following God. If Israel does something contrary to what God has declared morally right than do not suport this action. But do not curse her, instead, just like God does for us, forgive in love and go right back to giving nurturing support and aid to her. Love should be the motivation here, not the blessing upon your nation. Enabling bad behavior does nothing to support Israel except to enable her to sin against God more.  Think of it as a parent-child relationship.  When your rebellious teenager does something wrong, you point it out as wrong and you may issue a punishment if appropriate.  But does that mean you have turned your back on your child?  No.  You love your child, that is why you will not condone a sin.  But this is not the same as telling your child everything they do is right because you love and support them.  That will do incredible harm.  When supporting Israel, we must keep in mind to put God first.

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

-Last chapter it says Abram left Ur to go to Canaan but instead stopped in Haran and settled there. Piecing the two bits of information together, it seems Abram disobeyed God and went to Haran first or at the very least stopped short on this not-so-straight path towards Canaan. In Acts 7:2-4 it states, “And Stephen said: ‘Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.’” So Abraham did obey God, but was delayed because his father was with him. It says Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran but we aren’t given any other information other than his father died at the age of 205 in Haran. Either Abram ended up leaving his father in Haran and he died there by himself at a later date having stayed there the rest of his life or his father was already nearly 205 and in poor health and ended up dying there during the journey and Abram left once he was buried and the affairs were settled. In either case, verse 1 of this chapter said to “go from your kindred and your father’s house”. Even if “father’s house” refers to just the place of Ur and not literally his father’s dwelling place, Abram still did not leave his relatives because he took both his father and Lot with him. Abram was still obedient in the end because after all Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” I am only pointing out the obedience was not perfect to show how Abram’s life is a journey of being molded into the image of an obedient servant to God or the image of Jesus. Abram did obey, but there is evidence of some hesitation and signs Abram obeyed but just in his own way. We see later he tells a lie to the Egyptians. God did not tell him to do so and would never tell him to lie which is a sin, but Abram decides to do it his own way.  One other interesting question is the name of the place “Haran” itself.  That happens to be the name of Abram’s brother, Lot’s father as well.  The name “Haran”  means “mountaineer” in Hebrew.  It might be possible that the group named this area Haran after their loved one since he had passed away in Ur where they were from but this is unknown.

5a And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan.

-He may have left his father’s house, but it seems he took it all with him when he left. Not only that but they had “acquired” people in Haran. Given that Abram had servants, it stands to reason he and his father’s family were quite wealthy in those days. It seems too soon in history for there to be masters and servants rather than simply family clans but some families and nations of people likely faired better than others. Even with only 10 generations from Shem to Abram, we are only seldom told how many children each descendant had. When not stated, they could have had dozens upon dozens who all themselves had dozens upon dozens over the course of a few hundred years and there could be tens of thousands living on the Earth already. There is no telling how many daughters each could have had even when the amount of sons were stated and you would only need one man to impregnate many different women. It’s also possible with so few people, everyone essentially moved in herds. Perhaps if for some reason one person was not welcomed in one family, they joined another and this is where the people came from that Abram acquired. Those who were not blood were servants.

5b When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

-Shechem is an area in Israel and was the first capital city. The “oak of Moreh” mentioned here could very well be the terebinth tree that Jacob hid all the foreign gods and earrings in Genesis 35:4. Even though we haven’t got there yet, the Israelites in the desert hearing this story may have had that passed down through the generations in Egypt and new this bit of information already.

7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

-As mentioned before with Noah, alter building must have been something passed down going all the way back to Adam and Eve when Cain and Abel made their offerings otherwise how is it that Abram knew to do this without the law? Either that or this became perverted with other teachings and Abram was merely doing what he thought “gods” liked. This is the first time it says the Lord “appeared” to Abram rather than spoke so this could have been the first time Abram knew for sure he was really being told something and wasn’t just going crazy. It is uncertain why he did this.

8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

-Despite the fact that the Lord actually appeared to him as a confirmation, it still stands to reason he was being lead by what felt like instinct or else why is he still moving? He was told to go to Canaan and then when he got to Shechum and the Lord said “I will give this land”, why didn’t he stay there and assume this was the land right there where he built the alter? After all, the Lord said to go to the land “that I will show you”. Didn’t He just show him? Instead he keeps moving and ends up building another alter. Did he see the Lord again? There’s so much that we just aren’t told. The only thing important to keep in mind is that God is guiding him to where He wants him to go but what he is being told is very limited. It is vague as to where he is supposed to go. He is wandering around a foreign and probably dangerous land with a whole caravan of people, animals, and supplies not knowing where God wants him to go.

Abram and Sarai in Egypt
10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

-This is a flash forward to some unstated time after the second alter construction. It could have been shortly after or it could have been years later. The question here is, was Abram disobeying God to go to Egypt? Abram was not told to go to Egypt but he was only told to go to Canaan and that God will give him that land. But if God is to give him that land, he certainly needs to survive long enough to acquire it, doesn’t he? It is important when being lead by the Lord to consider what we know for sure to be of God. God is in control of all things, so if there was a famine so severe that Abram had to temporarily head to Egypt for food just to survive then that must be part of God’s plan, otherwise, God would have prevented or told Abram not to do that. It seems God gives us only enough information to know what to do and as long as we are obedient to that information, we can decide other things for ourselves. This verse says Abram “sojourned” there which means a temporary stay so Abram was not moving on or deciding to permanently settle in Egypt. So there is no reason to assume he is in the wrong yet. Although it could be argued that had he not had such a huge household to feed, he may not have needed to go to Egypt in the first place and there may have been more than enough for just him and his wife.

11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”

-Here Abram decides to tell a lie to ensure his own safety. Technically, it is not a total lie since she is his half-sister. But a technicality is still a lie and he didn’t say half-sister, he said sister which implies a full sister. The important thing to notice is Abram has not yet learned to trust God in his life completely yet. He knows because God told him that he will have a nation descend from him so therefore he cannot be killed. So Abram forgot his faith to fear that he would be killed on account of his wife.

14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. 17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

-”Taken into Pharaoh’s house” meant that she was added to his harem as his concubine. This would mean the Pharaoh and his princes and whoever else was included in his house had sex with her and the “great plagues” came in the form of a vunerial disease. Why couldn’t he had said that she was his wife? Instead, he allows his wife to become a sex object to a foreign ruler all to save his own life which he should have known was protected by God given the foreknowledge he was given of having descendants. Not only that but while she’s being forced to sleep around against her will (one would assume), Abram is treated like a fellow prince because of her. Not only is he able to get plenty of food, but his household grows substantially from the Pharaoh’s gifts. It seems this was in God’s plan all along to ensure Abram has plenty of wealth for his households health and security until Israel’s sons end up in Egypt. Had Abram not taken is original possession as it seemed God was commanding him to do, God would have provided an abundance anyway.

18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” 20 And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

-How did Pharaoh find out that she was his wife? Did Abram come clean after the plagues started or did Pharaoh somehow know or guess? We are not told but its very odd that Pharaoh would simply say “take her and go” instead of executing them both or at least Abram like he original feared. We see that God was indeed protecting them both and ensuring His plan will be carried out. Given the lavish gifts, perhaps Abram would have decided to stay and disobey God had this not occurred. I suppose if you ever want to truly know if what you think God’s plan is for you is true, try doing the opposite. God will always ensure his plan works out no matter what. The fact that the Egyptians got these plagues was because had they not, they would have never given up Sarai so that Abram and she could birth Isaac and Abram may have never left without her. If you think God has revealed a plan for your life then rejoice! Because no matter what, that plan will happen. It may not happen the way you think and it may happen at a much later time than you want, but it will happen, so there is never any reason to worry.

Spanish words:

parentela = relatives, kin
engrandecer = to exalt, increase, enlarge
maldecir = to curse
bienes = goods (property)
invocar = to invoke, incite, call
reserve = to book, reserve, set aside
oveja = sheep
asno = donkey
criada = maid
herir = to hurt, injure, inflict with
acompañar = to accompany, keep company